Californians love referenda. They used one in 2003 to kick out Gray Davis and install action movie knucklehead Arnold Schwarzenegger as Governor. As any sane person might have expected, he destroyed the state, and yesterday tried to salvage the damage with six shiny new referendum questions, proposing extension of some taxes, restriction of some spending, sales of state properties, borrowing (of course) and some other administrative gobbledegook. Voters gleefully rejected all of them, except for one that prevents lawmakers’ salaries from being raised when the state is running a deficit, which it will now do for all time.
Some citizens are starting not to like referenda. “It is clear,” complains the L.A. Times, “that voters’ fickle commands, one proposition at a time, are a top contributor to paralysis in Sacramento.” The public “deceive themselves constantly,” says a retired professor. “They’re not realistic.” For their part, voters celebrate the rapidly engulfing, self-administered catastrophe: “In a very few years it will be impossible to see where Mexico ends and Calif. begins,” says one commenter, “as both will be an third world cesspool!”
As we’ve said before: be proud, New Yorkers, of our relatively less damaging, systemic corruption.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on May 20, 2009